[LEFT]Staring in disbelief at the 3D ultrasound scan of her unborn daughter, 19-year-old Shannon Skinner would have wept with joy if she hadn’t been shocked into stunned silence.
The baby looked absolutely perfect, almost fully formed with a little button nose and a tiny hand raised to her face, as if waving hello to the mum she had yet to meet.
When the tears finally fell, as Shannon left St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol on Christmas Eve clutching the scan picture, they carried the bitter taste of guilt and fear.
Why? Because the baby wasn’t meant to exist. When Shannon was almost eight weeks pregnant, she underwent an early medical abortion (a termination using pills as opposed to surgery), having accidentally conceived just four months after the traumatic birth of her first daughter Lacie, now aged ten months.
Advised by doctors the pregnancy could pose a serious risk to her physical health, coming so soon after major repair surgery, Shannon — who was also being treated for post-natal depression — felt she had no choice but to have a termination.